Enlarge imagePhoto: Jochen Tack / IMAGO

In the traffic light government, there is currently a lot of noise about the Building Energy Act (GEG), usually called the Heating Act. The FDP is blocking the project in parliament, and Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) is not putting up with it. Yesterday evening, he spoke with experts from the traffic light parliamentary groups to answer open questions from the FDP.

Now, at least, the traffic light is making progress on another legislative project on the energy transition, which is closely linked to the Heating Act: According to information from the Ministry of Construction, the government has agreed in principle on a law for municipal heating plans. It obliges states and municipalities to present concrete plans in the coming years on how they want to convert their heating infrastructure to be climate-neutral. For large cities, these heat plans should be ready by the end of 2026, while smaller cities should have two years longer.

The heating plans of the municipalities are intended to be an important orientation for citizens, because they can find out whether their house will soon be connected to a district or local heating network - or whether they should convert their heating to a heat pump in the foreseeable future. The Building Energy Act (GEG) already provides for transitional periods: If a fossil heating device breaks, owners have three years to replace their device. The deadline is extended to ten years if the connection of the building to a district heating network is planned during this period. If municipal heat planning is successful, fewer people will have to switch to a heat pump.

The SPD member of parliament Bernhard Daldrup insists on a speedy conclusion of the legislative process. "We have no time to lose in heat planning," he said. "People need planning security for their heating system replacement and heat supply." The law should come into force together with the GEG in 2024.

The Association of Cities and Municipalities is also calling for more weight to be given to municipalities in the heat transition. Chief Executive Gerd Landsberg referred to schools, daycare centers, sports halls and town halls on Sunday to the Funke media group. "More than 165,000 properties are currently still heated with gas or oil," said Landsberg. Those who start here can achieve "a lot for the climate in a short time". Municipal heat planning could be "the big hit in the heat transition".

The draft law stipulates that existing data on energy consumption and the condition of buildings will be used in the best possible way by utilities, industrial companies and chimney sweeps for the planning of heating networks. The »Bild-Zeitung« took this as an opportunity to warn against a »heating police«, that all citizens would be »completely screened for heat and electricity consumption«.

According to SPD politician Daldrup, it is not a matter of municipalities "frantically collecting new data". Data protection must be guaranteed. In addition, most of the data is already available calculated by building type.

The FDP is also critical of this legislative project. It had agreed to send the draft to countries and associations for consultation, it was said on Wednesday from circles of the Ministry of Finance. But: "This step is expressly not associated with the approval of the content." In the ministry of FDP leader Christian Lindner, there are still professional concerns. However, they want to take into account statements from experts, among others, at an early stage in order to make the law practical and bureaucratic, it said.

With material from dpa